Ask the Author: Amber Sparks

Read or listen to Amber Sparks’s Storage Space in the February issue and then enjoy our conversation where she and I talk about women’s bodies, hypochondria and solving the politician problem.

1. This fragment is probably one of the most amazing fragments I’ve read in any text “…all women’s bodies serve as storage.” Do you agree with this statement? Don’t all bodies serve as storage?

I’d agree that, yeah, all bodies, male or female, serve as storage in some way. But I’d agree strongly with the first statement since I think women have more traditionally been perceived as storage, as vessels, whether for magic or desire or luck or children or home or fantasy or whatever. Especially children. I mean, holy crap, we have the capacity to grow actual people inside of us. What’s that if not storage?

2. What has your experience been like with medical professionals? I know the experience of seeing a doctor can be a hit or miss situation.

Actually, I’ve been pretty lucky. I have health care (I didn’t always, but now I do) and the doctors I’ve seen have all been pretty decent, though I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from other people. I did have some pretty interesting experiences when I used to give plasma, back in my poverty-stricken college days. (Plasma donation was most students’ CD and beer money.) They were always training new people, so there was a lot of spurting blood and “oops!” and needles poked in the wrong places. Very character-building. I actually still have a few scars on my arm from that time period, like a junkie or something.It’s pretty hardcore.

3. How would you solve our political deadlock in Washington (note: illegal methods are allowed in your answer)?

Gladiatorial contests, like back in ancient Rome. The winners get to enact their legislation, the losers get fed to the lions. I’m not worried. I mean, have you seen how pasty and old the House Republicans are? And the youngish ones are a bunch of geemers. Hey, even if we lost some Dems, at least it would be more entertaining than the current debate.

I would also accept cage matches. Pelosi vs. Boehner, McConnell vs. Reid. Put them on Pay-Per-View to help counter the cost of health care. I’d pay to see that.

4. Which doctor would you trust more with your healthcare, Dr. Feelgood or Doctor Doom? Why?

Doctor Doom, for sure. I’m a hypochondriac, so I’m always expecting to hear the worst. Hearing it would be vindicating; I would only suspect Dr. Feelgood of lying to me or sugarcoating the truth.

5. If you could trade your writing skills for a talent you don’t have, what would it be? Why?

The only thing I’d ever trade my writing skills away for would be the ability to paint. I love art and wanted to be–was convinced I would be–a painter from the time I was very small until I was in high school. It was then that I finally realized my painting talent wasn’t lying dormant inside me like I thought–it just wasn’t there. It was actually kind of heartbreaking. I paint things all the time in my head and wish I could put them on paper. But really, that’s what writing does, too, and I can paint with words. I think that’s why my stories are generally so heavy on descriptive language. I’m fine with being a poet among painters, like Frank O’Hara. Plus if I couldn’t write, I have absolutely no idea how I would make any kind of living, since it’s the only thing I know how to do well. So, no, I guess I wouldn’t trade my writing skills for anything.

  • Jesse, not only are you a wonderful poet, but an awesome interviewer, too. You inspire me in many ways including in my quest to remain outside of the box in terms of my communication with other humans and lifeforms.

    It’s so awesome to watch you progress through your career. A voyeur, I am.